The Japan-Canada partnership remains underdeveloped despite both countries sharing democratic institutions, the opportunities and challenges of having a close relationship with the United States, and an increasingly complicated relationship with China.

Some have compared the bilateral ties to an old marriage, one characterized by predictability and stability requiring few major changes. While this may have been true in the 1990s, today’s bilateral relationship is badly in need of an upgrade.

The Indo-Pacific region faces numerous systemic challenges to both countries. These include but are not exclusive to North Korea’s development of missiles and weapons of mass destruction, a revisionist China that is challenging its regional neighbors on land and in the maritime environment, and China’s signature Belt Road initiative, which aims to reconfigure the region’s integration away from an ASEAN centric one to one that gravitates outward from China based on Beijing’s rules.